Islamic Battalions, Stocked With Chechens, Aid Ukraine in War With Rebels

New York Times, By Andrew E. Kramer, July 7

Mariupol, Ukraine — Wearing camouflage, with a bushy salt-and-pepper beard flowing over his chest and a bowie knife sheathed prominently in his belt, the man cut a fearsome figure in the nearly empty restaurant. Waiters hovered apprehensively near the kitchen, and try as he might, the man who calls himself “Muslim,” a former Chechen warlord, could not wave them over for more tea.

Even for Ukrainians hardened by more than a year of war here against Russian-backed separatists, the appearance of Islamic combatants, mostly Chechens, in towns near the front lines comes as something of a surprise — and for many of the Ukrainians, a welcome one.

“We like to fight the Russians,” said the Chechen, who refused to give his real name. “We always fight the Russians.”

Via Information Clearing House: Ukraine Merges Nazis and Islamists

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